What should I do?

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Discus: High School Life and Pre-college Issues: May, 2003 and Earlier Archive: What should I do?
By AR on Monday, September 30, 2002 - 08:58 pm: Edit

I am a sophomore in a good school in NJ, and my aims are high. I have taken the Sats in 8th grade: scored 1300. I have taken SATII bio-m: scored 770. I am in all the highest science courses offered, i am going to complete multivariable calc by the end of senior year. I am the head of the ping pong club and am a part of model congress. I am going to propose to the school an idea that will make life easier. I do not know where to go, and my aspiraations are high!! Please help... i might make the tennis team this year, what type of things should i do for Ivy leagues... I am very confused, and never gave college a serious thought nor have an idea of what i should be doing... aim: Princeton, but will not get in most likely... please guide me..

By jop on Monday, September 30, 2002 - 09:35 pm: Edit

Do some volunteer work and get involved with activities at your school! Work on raising your test scores from now....

BTW, dont do activities to make it look good on your resume, do it because you're passionate about it

By Aerogirl on Tuesday, October 08, 2002 - 06:39 pm: Edit

Two questions:
1. I got "accepted" into the "Smith College Women of Distinction" program. My question is what is it really cuz i'm getting absolutely no background info on it? Also is it even worth it to spend the money and time on getting myself all the way over there (i'm from jersey) just to put it on my resume? See i don't really know if this program counts as a "Prominent School Activity" or like a college visit/orientation thing.
2. k, so i'm applying to penn state university park as my first choice campus but I don't know what campus i should have as my second choice at which to start at. There are so many i don't even know where to start!!! What do you guyz think?

By Sally R. on Tuesday, October 08, 2002 - 10:50 pm: Edit

Don't go to the Smith program to pad your resume. It won't mean all that much to admission officials (except at Smith!). But Smith and Penn state are vastly different places. I think it would be worth your while to attend the Smith event and get an insider's look at a prestigious liberal arts college that is also an all women's school. If you want some specifics about what you'll do during the program, call 1-413-585-2500 and ask for Dana Brown. If she's not available, tell the receptionist why you're calling, and you'll be referred to another person who can help.

Once you've seen Smith, you may fall in love with it or, conversely, you may be hopping the fastest Greyhound to University Park. I hope you've been able to visit Penn State or will be seeing it soon. Because Smith and Penn State are so different, a trip to each campus will enable you to better narrow down your priorities as you make the decision ahead.

After you've visited both places, you may have a clearer sense of second- and third-choice colleges because you'll see what strikes your fancy at each school.

Another thing to keep in mind will be costs. If you are applying for financial aid, you may actually end up paying less to go to Smith (a private college) than to Penn State (a public one) since you are not a PA resident. At the Women of Distinction Program you will have a chance to find out about paying for a Smith education.

Good luck with your decision.

By Dave Berry on Wednesday, October 09, 2002 - 09:02 am: Edit

Sally's right. Penn State and Smith are on different ends of the college-experience universe. I'm a Penn State grad (from back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (yeah, Sally, I know I use that phrase way too often )) and it was what I refer to as a "cattle call": huge classes, lots of TAs, herds of class-changing students, etc. Of course, there is always Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lion football team if you want to be on a major sports campus.

Don't get me wrong; PSU-UP is a terrific school, one of the best public universities in the nation, but I prefer the personal touch of a small LAC or smaller university. Maybe you do or don't. That's up to you, Aerogirl (I think I knew your brother Flyboy ). If you're a URM and/or have great stats, look at PSU's Schreyer Honors College. You'll get an app for that, anyhow, once PSU admissions sees that you're qualified.

As for alternate campuses (campi?), Altoona has a very nice physical plant, but Altoona will put you in a coma. Maybe the Behrend campus in Erie would better suit your social needs. You could always just jump in the lake there. Good luck, Aerogirl.

By Aerogirl on Wednesday, October 09, 2002 - 04:05 pm: Edit

Thanx soooooooooo much!!! I've gotten better advice here than anywhere else. Actually, I wasn't planning on applying to Smith. I come from a small school in a small town so the last thing I want to do is go to a small university. Although I do like that personal attention thing I have no desire to go to a women's college maybe because i like to be around a lot of different people. Oh yeah and penn state...great school with lots of options however my main reason for applying there is the fact that it is close to home and that it has one of the best "Aerospace Engineering" programs.
I'm also considering applying for George Washington University in their integrated engineering/law degree. What do you guyz think of that school/program?

By Sally R. on Wednesday, October 09, 2002 - 09:24 pm: Edit

I don't know about that particular program, but GWU does have some generous merit aid for good students. (Merit aid is the money colleges give you that you don't have to pay back, and you generally don't need to qualify for financial aid to get it, either.)

State universities tend to have less dough to give away, especially to out-of-staters, but it really depends on the institution.

It sounds from the programs you're picking that you are a strong student. Unless money is no object at all, you might want to ask admission officials at these schools about merit aid grants that you could qualify to receive. Usually, when you apply to a college, you don't have to fill out any separate forms to get merit aid, and you are given the good news at the time of your acceptance.

As for Dave's advice, I would say that you'd probably have a better social life cybercommuting from your living room than by going anywhere near Erie. More than 90 percent of the students at that campus hail from Pennsylvania. Any time you look at a college with that many in-staters and you're not one of them, it's smart to ask how many head home on the weekends.

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